With strong winds, minimal daylight, and below-freezing temperatures, long winter days turn into cold dark nights. During these lengthy winter months, it’s common for your skin to be dry and itchy. Our winter skin can be more prone to bleeding and cracking, which can be painful and even lead to infection, if not handled properly. Dry skin issues are usually due to cold and consequently dry air during the winter. If you have dry winter skin, there are several things that you can do to ensure that your skin has plenty of moisture. Dr. Krant recommends a few ways to get some relief.
Shortening Showers and Baths
Many people believe the misconception that if their skin is submerged in water, their body is absorbing moisture. However, hot water can actually wash away your body’s natural oils that work to moisturize the skin. Over time, this can cause your skin to dry out more quickly and have trouble retaining moisture. Instead of taking long hot showers or baths, opt for a shorter time spent under hot water. Once finished, be sure to moisturize your skin while it’s still damp. This is recommended because wet skin can more effectively absorb the moisturizer.
It’s extremely important to make sure you’re moisturizing throughout the day. This is especially important before you go to bed. You can even consider using a humidifier while you sleep to lessen the effects of drying out during the night. Even if your skin doesn’t feel particularly dry, you should still regularly use a lotion or cream (especially after washing your hands). If you’re not sure which moisturizer is best, look for a gentle, unscented lotion that contains emollients which lock in moisture. You can also ask Dr. Krant for recommendations.
Use Mild Soaps and Detergents
Using the wrong kind of bath or laundry soap can actually worsen dry skin. You will want to look for milder, unscented versions of each. If possible, consider using soap that contains no fragrances and contains moisturizers. When doing laundry, look for a laundry detergent that is free of colorants and fragrances, as these can irritate your skin, worsening the effects of winter weather. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners can also contain irritants. You can discuss alternative brands and specific recommendations with Dr. Krant.
See a Dermatologist
If your skin is very cracked, flaky, scaly, itchy, or red, you may have a condition like dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis. These can require treatment beyond what is discussed above, for average dry winter skin. If you are concerned that your issues may be more than dry skin, you’ll need to talk to Dr. Krant about routine care and prescription medication to help keep symptoms under control.
Schedule a Consultation
Keeping your dry skin under control during the winter months takes care and extra steps. For the best in dermatological care or to learn more about the right options for dry skin, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.